We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls’ volleyball, crowned yesterday at the Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University, Normal.
- Class 4A: Benet Academy in Lisle
- Class 3A: Sterling High School
- Class 2A: St. Teresa High School in Decatur
- Class 1A: Newark High School
Newark, coached by Tonya Grayson, defended their state title in Class 1A from last year, and defeated Illini Bluffs High School from Glasford in straight sets, 25-19, 25-22. The only other state title in the trophy case at Newark is a championship in boys’ basketball in 2011.
This year marked the first state championship in girls’ volleyball for St Teresa, but teams at the Decatur Catholic school have several other first-place trophies in the case, including girls’ cross country titles in four consecutive years, 2010-11 through 2013-14. The team is coached by Brad Dalton and defeated Mater Dei from Breese in two hard-fought sets, 25-22, 26-24. Other titles for St Teresa include football in three years (1974, 1975, and 1979) and a girls’ basketball championship in the 2013-14 school year.
Like Newark, Sterling also came to the season’s final game as a defender of the state title from last year. The girls’ volleyball team here, coached by Dale Dykeman, defeated Joliet Catholic Academy in straight sets, 25-16, 25-19. Also like Newark, Sterling has one other state title to its credit, this one in girls’ basketball, won in the 1976-77 school year.
Benet Academy, also a Catholic school, located in Chicago’s western suburbs, has won several state championships in girls’ volleyball—2011, 2012, 2014, and now 2019. The team is coached by Brad Baker and took out Wheaton Warrenville South in straight sets, 25-12, 25-16.
In the regular season, Benet lost only one game: on October 22 to Marist, which lost in the semifinals here but was ranked nationally by MaxPreps. Before the last regular season match, the team celebrated its five seniors on Senior Night, according to the Benet Herald.
“The rest of the team had some surprises in store for the girls,” wrote Sicily Shaw in the student newspaper. “The team decorated each of their houses and surprised them on Monday evening, the night before the game. They also wrote in chalk on the stairs outside of the Martins gym doors to cheer on the seniors. At the beginning of the game, each senior got to walk in with their parents, and they were given flowers. The gym was decorated with streamers and posters. Pictures of each of the girls flooded the hallways leading up to the gym.”
Benet won the girls’ soccer title in the spring as well as several state titles over the years, including girls’ basketball in 2014-15 and 2015-16, girls’ tennis in 2016-17, and boys’ soccer in 2000-01 and 2001-02. And earlier fall, the boys’ soccer team added to their state titles, taking Class 2A, and the girls’ cross country team won its first state title ever in Class 2A.